The Gulf of Mexico oil spill created a dilemma for The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. The award winning educational museum in Dubuque, Ia. was all set to open their $40 million expansion when the crisis in the Gulf occurred.
285 billion gallons of water flows from the Mississippi River into the Gulf, every day. The new expansion, the Diamond Jo National River Center, will open on June 26, 2010 and features a Gulf exhibit. However, the board and staff feel a vibrant full of life portrayal of the river mouth at the Gulf of Mexico would not be an appropriate or factual display. The museum and aquarium believe that the most appropriate Gulf exhibit will recognize the ecological crisis now occurring in the Gulf.
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium will open an empty aquarium as a dramatic depiction of the effects of the oil spill. The museum hopes this will give visitors pause to consider the delicate balance of life and draw a connection between the Gulf and the Mississippi River Valley. The Gulf Coast oil spill is the largest environmental disaster of its kind in the U.S. and affects us all.
Visitors can find hands-on activities, educational materials, multi-media exhibits and information on how to get involved next to the lifeless aquariums. The museum and its partners are trying to spread the message that protecting the Gulf and responding to this disaster belongs to all of us.
The museum is working with multiple partners to spread their message. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the United States Environmental Agency, as well as several more federal agencies, and many zoos, aquariums and learning centers across the nation are working together to present the message of national ownership of the oil spill and response.
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium was named one of the top 10 museum and aquariums in 2008 by TripAdvisor and the 2009 number one attraction in Iowa by the Iowa Department of Tourism and Travel. Its mission is to preserve both cultural and environmental river history and the great American rivers themselves. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa, the museum occupies a ten acre campus and hosts 250,000 visitors a year.
The museum features six aquariums, a boardwalk which meanders through a wetland and shipyard, a barge and numerous other interactive and hands-on exhibits. The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a fun educational adventure for kids and adults of all ages now spreading a very important message.